The Professor and the Girls

Inscribed on the back of this photograph is a moderately barbed comment – it is in my mother’s hand: The Professor and the Girls, a reference, no doubt, to the ostentatious pipe.  My mother takes centre stage flanked left and right by Aunt Bet and Uncle Ed.  My dad is behind the lens. They were not actually related, just good friends brought together by the bombs that fell on war-torn Manchester; nor was Uncle Ed a professor.  Girls doesn’t quite ring true either.

This is Morfa Nefyn, north Wales in 1956 (finally, the correct year) which puts them in their mid-30s.  In not so many years I will be twice their age but they remain the older and wiser grown-ups.

The Prof

The photographs were printed as contacts from Kodak 117 negatives.  Scanned at 1600dpi, they reveal detail not apparent in the originals.  I am clutching a tennis ball, presumably keen to resume the interrupted game of cricket.  My sister has a half eaten banana in her hand, presumably keen to to resume feeding her face :-).

On the beach

The many-roomed house is where we stayed – a self-catering holiday home with me posing outside.  I have a wooden bat in my hand, part of a Slam! tennis trainer set, a wholly ineffective device which, if inflicted on a young Roger Federer, would have killed his brilliant career from the outset.  I remember nothing of the inside of the house except for vague memories of the attic, a place deemed out-of-bounds and ‘haunted’ just to add spice to the ruling.  I spent quite some time up there.  Looking closely at this photograph I can see no ghostly faces in the attic windows but there are two at a lower level.  I had never spotted these ‘apparitions’ before o_O.

Haunted house
(click on the images to enlarge)

Hell’s Mouth

Tish Farrell has produced a fascinating post entitled Gazing into Hell’s Mouth at Plas yn Rhiw  which got me thinking – I was reminded of an old family photograph.  My comment on Tish’s post says  I have a family photograph taken on a road above Hell’s Mouth – there is my mother, my sister, and me, leaning against the car in a pretentious fashion (makes a change from gurning I suppose). I would be 9 or 10 which makes it 1960 or thereabouts, possibly earlier. The car was the family Ford Consul, reg – RMA 803 – now I must find the picture.

This is wrong on two counts – firstly I am now fairly certain it is 1958 and we have taken a ride out from a holiday let at Morfa Nefyn.  Secondly I am gurning after all – perhaps in a satirical reference to the location, I am stretching my mouth sideways with my fingers.  A much more likely explanation is that I am pulling faces at my too-grown-up sister.  I perfected the art of the irritating younger brother at a very early age:

Hell's Mouth

The black Mk 1 Ford Consul is the first car I remember, a very solid piece of engineering prone to not starting in the winter.  Dad would eventually resort to dangling a light bulb in the engine compartment overnight to keep the temperature up. It seemed to work.  This is the insurance documentation – all very straightforward – the same document was just updated whenever the car was changed; two more Consuls followed by two Ford Corsairs. All but the last had column gear changes, something my parents insisted on long after they were a standard fitting. Creatures of habit in more ways than one were my Ma and Pa.

RMA 803